Linda Evangelista reveals why she tried cosmetic procedure that left her ‘deformed’: ‘I’m a little vain’
Linda Evangelista has spoken candidly about why she decided to undergo the cosmetic surgery procedure that she claimed left her “permanently deformed”.
he supermodel, 57, first opened up about her traumatic experience in a September 2021 Instagram post, in which she said that she had suffered a series of rare side effects after undergoing CoolSculpting, a brand name for the fat-freezing process cryolipolysis.
In the lengthy post, the Canadian model had said that the procedure allegedly “increased, not decreased, my fat cells and left me permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries”.
In addition to the impact on her physical appearance, she also spoke of the effects on her mental health.
Evangelista revealed that the experience “destroyed” her livelihood, and sent her “into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing”.
“In the process, I have become a recluse,” she wrote at the time.
In a new cover interview for British Vogue’s September issue, Evangelista has opened up about her decision to undergo the cosmetic surgery in the first place, as well as her continued struggle for body acceptance.
According to Evangelista, who was one of the most successful models of the 1990s, she decided to try CoolSculpting, which destroys fat cells in different areas around the body, after seeing countless commercials about the procedure, and because she is “a little vain”.
“Those CoolSculpting commercials were on all the time, on CNN, on MSNBC, over and over, and they would ask: ‘Do you like what you see in the mirror?’ They were speaking to me. It was about stubborn fat in areas that wouldn’t budge. It said no downtime, no surgery and… I drank the magic potion, and I would because I’m a little vain,” she told Vogue.
“So I went for it – and it backfired.”
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Following the treatment, Evangelista said she developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, which is when the fatty tissue in the body grows instead of shrinking in response to the treatment.
She told Vogue that she tried everything to reverse the results, but that nothing helped, with the model revealing that, at her lowest point, she even tried to stop eating.
“I have incisions all over my body. I have had stitches, I have worn compression garments under my chin, I’ve had my entire body tightly girdled for eight weeks – nothing helped,” she said.
“I was so embarrassed, I’d just spent all this money and the only way I could think of to fix it was zero calories, and so I just drank water. Or sometimes I would have a stick of celery or one apple. I was losing my mind.”
The supermodel also spoke of the impact the procedure had on her mental health, and how it negatively affected her relationship with her 15-year-old son, Augustin “Augie” James Evangelista.
“What really stabbed me in the heart was when he said to me: ‘Remember when you used to be so much fun? Remember when you used to laugh all the time?’ It was such an innocent comment. That was a lot to handle,” she recalled, telling the outlet that she finally opened up to her son about the procedure two years ago, after he’d begun asking why she’d stopped working.
Evangelista described opening up to her son about the ordeal.
“He was as understanding as a 13-year-old could be. I told him there would be a lawsuit and I said: ‘You might hear things and be embarrassed.’ And he said: ‘Why would I be embarrassed? I’m sad for you. I’m not embarrassed.’ Then he said: ‘I’m going to take care of you, don’t worry,’” Evangelista said, adding: “What parent wants to be a burden to their child?”
Ultimately, Evangelista said she would not have chosen to undergo the procedure had she known the risks and possibility that she would lose her livelihood and spiral into depression.
“If I had known side effects may include losing your livelihood and you’ll end up so depressed that you hate yourself…” she said tearfully. “I wouldn’t have taken that risk.”
According to Evangelista, who recently settled a lawsuit against Zeltiq Aesthetics and made her modelling return, she still struggles with the mental and physical impacts of the procedure to this day. The model admitted that she still can’t look in the mirror, nor can she “bear” for anyone to touch her body. “Am I cured mentally? Absolutely not,” she said.
However, she said that she has been grateful for the support she’s received from fans and the modelling industry.
When looking towards the future, the mother of one said that she is not fearful of ageing, or looking older, as her only wish is to spend the time with her family and “be here to see it all”.
“Bring it on. I just want to be here to see it all. I’m not done, I want to see Augie turn into a man,” she said.
According to CoolSculpting’s website, “rare side effects may occur” as a result of the procedure and “may cause a visible enlargement in the treated area, which may develop two to five months after treatment and requires surgical intervention for correction”. In a statement to British Vogue, a representative for Zeltiq said it was pleased to have “resolved” the matter with the model, and that the company’s focus “continues to be on empowering confidence by providing safe, reliable aesthetics products and services backed by science”.
The full interview is in the September issue of British Vogue, available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday.
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